It would be an understatement to say that how we view the whole of Holy Scripture is important. For Christians, the Bible is God’s Word to humanity. Some believers approach the Bible as a law book and see the essence of Christianity as obedience to specific commands. Yet, today’s epistle lesson affirms that we are justified by faith apart from works of the law.
Therefore, I tend to see the Bible more as a beautiful story of grace in which God goes out of his way across the millennia to redeem his lost creatures from sin, death, and hell. Our relationship to God will not stand up under the burden of a perpetually angry army sergeant-type God who is trying to drill truth and salvation into his stupid raw recruits. Rather, we come to God as a loving heavenly Father who, along with the Son and the Spirit, went to the greatest lengths to make redemption possible. God did for us what we could not do for ourselves.
The only proper response to this grace is faith – not effort, not trying harder, not by self-flagellation or extreme guilty feelings. None of us has anything to stand upon, except the grace of God in Christ. The wrath of God against sin and evil has been satisfied through the death of Jesus. We do not need to try and please God through working more and harder because we already possess his pleasure.
Loving God, who sent Jesus as my substitute on the cross, give me the gift of faith so that I might always trust you for my salvation and for everything in my life every day. Amen.